This is a short story I gave to my son’s teachers with their Thank You gifts, on the occasion of his last day at middle school. I don’t know where four years went, but we made some terrific friends along the way.
Tell Me Who I Am
There once was a young boy. He didn’t look very different on the outside. He didn’t stand out in the crowd, but he had a problem. He was lost. It was through no fault of his own. Little by little he worked to find his way, but it wasn’t easy for him like it was for other kids. He needed help, so he went to find it.
There was a new building with people and rules. He asked them, “Who am I?” They worked with him, told him things, showed him what to do, and gave him rules to follow. All the while he kept asking, “Who am I?”
“We can’t tell you,” they said. “But we can show you.” They smiled so he knew it was okay. Over four short years, they watched the boy grow and change. They knew who he was, and they knew he wasn’t lost.
One day the people all got together. They smiled at him and said, “You’re ready.”
He was scared. He said, “What do you mean? I’m not ready. I don’t know who I am yet. You didn’t tell me. Just tell me who I am, and maybe then I’ll be ready.”
They shook their heads. “No, we can’t.”
He was sad. “You still can’t tell me who I am, after all the time we worked together? All the things I learned from you? I only want to know who I am. I’m still lost.”
“No you’re not,” they said. “The things we’ve taught you are the tools you need to help you find your way. We’ve only taught you how to use them. Because you’re special—not lost—they were a little harder to find. Now it’s up to you. You’re not done yet. You must keep moving and learning and trying. Use your tools and you’ll find out who you are.”
He was scared. “I will?”
“You will. We promise.”
He believed them, and he smiled. He said, “Okay. I’ll go, but I will miss you. Thank you. I’m going to go use these tools you’ve given me so I can learn who I am. I will be even better.” He walked away, in search of more tools with which to build himself, and people to learn from, and someone to share them with.
They waved and wished him well because they loved him for who he already was. He would never be lost as long as he carried the tools they gave him. The tools he had all along.
(I apologize for not coming around lately, but I’ve been insanely busy. I hope to do better but in the mean time, if you’re looking for me, check Facebook.) 🙂